News

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

CHRISTMAS IN COLONIAL TIMES: The festivities weren't always so bright in early America. Photo: clipart.com

Christmas in America has become a mixture of both secular and religious themes, a time of joy, gratitude and celebration.

But in Colonial times, it was a different story.

Surprisingly little is known about how early Americans celebrated Christmas.

That’s because historians of the day spent their time chronicling politics and wars, not holidays.

But it is known that the early settlers of Virginia, Maryland and Georgia brought English customs with them, while in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania the traditions of Holland, Sweden and Germany were carried on.

In New England, Christmas was long frowned upon. The Puritans associated it with the Church of England and the old-world customs they were escaping, including feasting, drinking and playing games.

Christmas and other holiday celebrations were banned in Massachusetts from 1659 until 1681. A law was passed declaring that anyone who observed a holiday would be fined five shillings.

The first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday was Alabama, in 1836.

Latest Stories

in Local Sports, Sports, UVA Sports

First Three UVa Football Practices Open to the Public

Fresh
Football

UVA to practice at night during open practices.

in Sports

Friday’s Sports Minute

Fresh
leishma

A look at the sports news making headlines today, Friday, Aug. 1.

in Music, Viral Videos

WATCH: Bret Michaels covers ‘Endless Love,’ serenades van

Fresh
bret

The Poison frontman remakes the Lionel Richie classic, while rocking out at Nissan's car testing facility.

in National

U.S. reforms poultry inspections in effort to boost food safety

Fresh
chicken

The USDA hopes reforms to decades-old processes for inspecting poultry facilities will cut down on foodborne illnesses.

in Sports

Muhammad Ali’s ‘Fight of the Century’ gloves sell for $400K

muhammadali

The gloves the boxing great wore in his legendary 1971 fight against Joe Frazier sold at auction on Thursday.